Houdini Kitchen Laboratory's Habanera Pizza, One of Our 100 Favorite Dishes
Dish no. 73: Habanera pizza at Houdini Kitchen Laboratory (1563 Decatur Street, Ridgewood; 718-456-3770)
On a desolate block lined with decrepit warehouses sits this pizzeria, the work of Massimilano Bartoli and Pilar Rigon, who are first adopters of this Bushwick-Ridgewood border neighborhood as they were 15 years ago of Williamsburg when they opened the Miss Williamsburg Diner. To get to Houdini, take the L train to Halsey and then head toward the cemetery. Turn down Decatur Street and find the gate that leads you to a loading dock, where a patio fronts an industrial restaurant anchored by a back corner pizza oven. Ease into your meal with an Aperol Spritz, and then order a pie. We were taken with the habanera, its tangy tomato sauce and bubbling mozzarella painted over a blistered Neapolitan-style crust. It's layered with thin strips of cured pork and dotted with peppers, which impart a tongue-tingling heat that'll seduce you to polish off the whole pizza by yourself.
In advance of our 2014 Best of NYC issue, we're traipsing through the boroughs and divulging our favorite dishes of the year. They're presented here as a countdown, but we're listing them in no particular order. Consider this a guide to what's good to eat in this town right this very second.